I have recently been reading PR20/20‘s “2014 Marketing Score Report” which was compiled by interviewing over 300 marketing professionals, executives and entrepreneurs who assessed their own and their organisations strengths and weaknesses in different aspects of marketing.
Amid a wealth of very valuable information, two areas stood out for me. They are of great importance for the success of organisations and I was surprised by the low achievement ratings that marketers gave themselves and their companies in these areas.
The good news is the potential this provides to marketers who are already expert in these fields or who can rapidly increase their competence.
The first area is content marketing. Among the 13 elements of content marketing that were assessed, the top score was only 4.4 out of 10, which was for blogging. The lowest was 0.8 for podcasts.
Now a number of the content marketing elements are fairly new (e.g. infographics) so it is understandable that many organisations are still working out how to include them in the marketing mix and finding, or training staff, to implement them.
But elements such as blogging, case studies, PR and white papers have been core parts of marketing activities for a long time. Moreover, the report also shows that those who rate their performance highly in content marketing activities such as blogging are those who perform best in generating website traffic and leads as well as converting them to sales.
Of course, this does not prove causality – that more blogging leads to more website traffic, leads and sales. But the fact that the companies that prioritise and generate content for their different audiences (prospects, partners, suppliers and other influencers) do better than those who do not suggests it is worthwhile adopting and testing a stronger focus in this area.
Given the way that customers, both businesses and consumers, research products and services more and more before buying, it would be stupid not to put more effort into creating content that will bring your company’s name and expertise to their attention while they are doing their research. Content marketing enables you to be involved early in the customer journey.
The second interesting area in which marketing competence is rated surprisingly low is that of diversity of lead sources. The results show a particular weakness in gaining leads from digital sources with the best digital channel being organic search with a rating of only 4.3 out of 10.
Once again the best performing organisations rated themselves significantly higher for digital leads; and again this is a sign of the need for most organisations to investigate the new digital sources for leads that leading companies are exploiting.
So both content marketing and digital leads are shown to offer many companies huge scope for growth, and they are areas in which they do not currently have sufficient in-house expertise.
That is great news for marketers who have the expertise and energy to exploit these opportunities.